More or less than feeling
02 November 2019, 11:00-16:00
Workshop by Evagoria Dapola
This creative and interactive workshop, led by Evagoria Dapola, begins with an open discussion about several photographic visual languages, reflecting on ‘the gaze’ and ‘gesture’ through a photographic context, as ways of organization and not of representation. Introducing the science of semiotics with a brief mention of semantics and visual politics, the workshop looks at the development of the semiotic language of selfies.
Looking at Phanos Kyriacou’s photographic works, we make reflections, discussing whether they are selfies or not, and whether they follow visual codes or languages. We argue within a broader context of his work ‘hands holding things’, considering ‘the body’ and we discuss the semiotics and semantics that unravel.
Such a workshop is primarily an exercise of collective thinking and of vivid reflection on a specific visual language and photographic mechanisms. Each workshop participant is provided with some selected reading and is invited to activate their knowledge and professional expertise in a structured way. Everyone experiences the three positions that constitute the function of such a workshop; the positions of feedback-giver, of feedback-receiver and of moderator. In the course of the workshop we first examine the method’s conceptual and philosophical apparatus.
The next step is to practice the method’s formats in the course of a feedback session, each one being dedicated to an individual (or collaborative) artistic practice through the use of selfies. It’s for a small group of participants and unfolds as a kind of personal quest for an action, gesture or ongoing practice - your ’THING’ - which could combine the following: a way to respond to something in the world which you feel needs addressing; a way to respond to something in yourself which you feel needs addressing; something which you can carry out without expense or complication: it’s only yourself in the way. The concept of ‘thingness’ is leading the workshop: the structure is automated and the notion of ‘the self’ is being questioned.
“‘Selfieness is a form of provocation bringing social life into focus through an expanding aesthetics or self-representation remade through technologies of rapid circulation" J.Weaver Shipley wrote about selfies. Smartphone technologies and social-media have undeniably transformed the perception, content and interaction of human relationships. In an ever-expanding networked era, this accelerated growth and widespread use of social-media has made sharing parts of our daily lives on the web the new norm and Online disclosure became has been ingrained in daily life and the constant adaption of technology and photography equipped our means of display of our self-image.
"In belonging we actualize ourselves by possessing what we want to possess us, and find fellow feeling from being around others who own the same properties. And by properties, I mean not only tangible things, [...] but more importantly, immaterial things that give meaning to an inner life, like ideas, or desires, or histories" Paul Chan noted about belongingness.
This unusual mixture of the distant gaze of the digital and technical apparatus which seems to feel instead of viewing and the humanization of personalized self-portrait, which originates from Renaissance’s self-fashioning, could be exceptionally characteristic of more complex ways to make time, to quantify the self and discipline the body. In visual culture, the selfie rapidly and effortlessly presents, without telling what we feel, where we are and what we do in ways that texting conversations fail to do so.
The selfie here is an auto-affectation mechanism. This unusual mixture of the distant gaze of the digital and technical apparatus which seems to feel instead of viewing and the humanization of personalized self-portrait, which originates from Renaissance’s self-fashioning, could be exceptionally characteristic of more complex ways to make time, to quantify the self and discipline the body.
As frequently happens with new trends, writers and art critics like Stephen Marche dismissed the idea of selfies being considered as a form of art. However, the democratic photographic art-form and the digital revolution of social-networks and selfies have created a new audience of performers. Selfies could be a form of art experimentation enjoyed and practiced by all as Lenin would have liked it or as Beuys envisioned it. Here, the non-traditional selfie is a different kind of art, it is not the artwork itself it is just the means of production. We ponder upon that. We consider the unfeeling mechanisms that are more than seeing, but are feeling. We look at the semiotics of seeing and consider autoaffectation as a continuation of theory of gaze. We look at the works as photographs that one can hear without making a sound, hinting notes of violence and hazards.”